April 6, 2016

Walmart Beauty Box: Spring 2016 (a review!)...

Walmart Beauty Box: Spring 2016 (a review!) | yourwishcake.com
It's been ages since I've reviewed one of these boxes, but I've been receiving them now for more than a year and haven't quit yet. I love how they only arrive once every season, cost a mere $5 (including shipping) and are filled with drugstore products I can actually afford. As much as I'd love to splurge on the more high-end subscription boxes, I know this is more up my alley during this season of life, and I always look forward to seeing what is tucked inside!

Walmart Beauty Box: Spring 2016 (a review!) | yourwishcake.com
If you want to begin receiving this seasonal beauty box, you can visit the website here. As I mentioned before, they ship out four times a year—at the beginning of each new season. I feel like I should mention that I don't get anything if you sign up and this isn't a sponsored post—I'm just sharing the goodness because I've enjoyed receiving these boxes, and everyone I know who has subscribed has loved them, as well! It's so inexpensive, but it still feels like a little way to treat yourself four times a year. Yes, indeed.

Here's a look at what I received for the Spring 2016 Beauty Box:
Walmart Beauty Box: Spring 2016 (a review!) | yourwishcake.com
Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub — I've used so many random facial scrubs over the years, so this will be next on the list once I'm through using my current one! I like using samples for facial scrubs, face wash and body wash in-between using new, full-size products. You'd be surprised how much use you can get out of one of these samples…especially for a product like this.

Vera Wang Embrace — This perfume smells wonderful. I rarely wear actual perfume (I typically stick with my go-to roll on) but I've already been wearing this sample almost daily.

Neutrogena MoistureSmooth color stick — At first I wasn't sure I was going to like this lip color, mostly because I'm so used to a more glossy feel. This is definitely more of a lip stick as opposed to gloss, but after a few tries I'm totally hooked. I love this pink color, and it doesn't dry out my lips at all. I love that this sample is a generous size, and I'm assuming it'll last for quite some time.

CeraVe healing ointment — I've never used this before, but it's definitely being added to my diaper bag for on-the-go. It works very well on my hands and I love to have an unscented option for this sort of product!

Colgate Optic White toothpaste — Toothpaste samples? Yes, please. Always. Please and thank you. (Am I the only person who randomly runs out of actual toothpaste and has to raid random places in our apartment to find samples to use until I buy more?)

Jergens Natural Glow moisturizer — I've loved this product for years. It's a summertime staple for this fair-skinned gal. When I get a bit of sun, I follow it up with this lotion for a few days, which makes it look like I have a borderline tan. Insert praise-hands emoji here!

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette shampoo — When my hair was a bit darker than it is now, I used this shampoo for a while. It ended up costing more than I'm generally willing to spend on shampoo, but I did like how it made my hair shiny and soft.

Curel Itch Defense body wash — I haven't used this brand of body wash before, and I'm not necessarily itchy, but hey! I'll add it to my sample stash.

Additional single-use samples/coupons are included in each box, most notably a high-value coupon for $3 off Bert's Bees BB Cream (which I will totally try!).

Overall, I'm very pleased with this season's box! In the past, many boxes have included a full-size product (mascara, razor, etc.) but there were so many good samples in this one that I'm willing to let it slide. It is still worth the price to receive something filled with products I'll actually use.

Did you receive one this season? You'll have to let me know what you think!

— Further reading: Walmart Beauty Box—Spring 2015

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.

April 4, 2016

life, lately...

life, lately | yourwishcake.com
It's been a couple months now since Jay was laid off, and we may have finally found some version of a new "normal" for our day-to-day life. Well, sort of. It feels both like it's been forever and that it was just yesterday when I received that call. It's been odd, being in this in-between place…not sure when or how something new would come long. Or where we'd end up. To move, or not to move? To seek out an entirely different career path, or something familiar?

I'm not sure what I expected it to be like, having all four of us at home nearly every day. It's been both a huge blessing and a huge challenge, to be completely honest. I had a borderline meltdown a few days in, seeing us all immediately melting into vacation-mode. I definitely began to panic over the loss of my daily routines. I'm such a routine person—it's now I thrive, it's how I'm able to actually get things done each day, it's how I manage to feel centered and productive and all of that. It was hard at first (and remains so, many days) to have to have a different daily routine—or, more accurately, an anti-routine, considering every day tends to vary significantly at this point.

I know that Eisley works best with a familiar routine, as well, and throwing a wrench into that has sent her into a bit of an emotional tailspin. Things have been a little crazy around here, parenting-wise, to put it lightly. I have to remind myself that our situation is temporary, and once we get back into the swing of things, hopefully we will be faced with less defiance and meltdowns. We haven't had to deal with these things regularly since after we made the big move from the duplex to our new apartment. It has been a difficult parenting season, but it has also been a good reminder for me that Jay and I are very united when it comes to things like this. When I'm at my wit's end, I can tag him to jump into the fray. (And, goodness, is he a patient man.)

Another thing I hadn't expected was how difficult it has been for me to have very little time to myself. Even with the two kids keeping me busy all day, with my regular daily routine there would be at least one point every single day when I'd be able to relish in the tidiness—and, more importantly, in the silence. That's not to say that my husband is noisy (unless you count the snoring…) but having an extra person at home all day just takes some getting used to. I guess I just didn't realize until now just how energizing time alone is for me. Even when it is filled with chores and isn't even necessarily "me time". (More and more, I'm able to pinpoint the exact things I require as an introvert.) In addition to that, having some sense of control over my environment for most of the day is a big deal for me. Losing that has made me all discombobulated.

However, it hasn't been all madness and meltdowns. It's been kind of wonderful to have Jay around to really see what life is full of during the day. He's been able to spend so much quality time with the girls, and has been able to be there for all these milestones with Cora that he would have most surely missed out on if he were still gone nearly 12 hours, 5 days a week. And he's been a huge help to me, never complaining when I need to get away and need him to watch one (or both) of the girls. I'm learning to ask him to do things instead of waiting for him to read my mind (because, let's be honest, it hasn't happened after ten years of marriage and I don't really like my odds at this point). It's been nice for him to be able to witness firsthand all I do during these busy days, too…because I think in many ways, until they are around all the time, there's no way someone can understand just how much work goes into caring for two children and keeping a home (or apartment) and shopping and cooking and everything else under the sun.

We've also been able to do a bunch of day trips together, and have played local tourist over and over again during these past weeks together. When will we have the time to do something like this again? It's during those memory-making moments when I do see this situation as the blessing in disguise it truly is.

And now, there seems to be an end in sight. Soon enough, Jay will be taking a new job in a completely new industry—here in Southern California. When he first brought up the job opportunity with me, I immediately burst into tears. All these hopes I'd built up about this being the perfect moment for the big move back to the Northwest…it's like they'd appeared only to be taken away in the same breath. I let myself think this was it. But it wasn't…and it isn't. For now.

For now, for now, for now.

I need to remind myself constantly that there's no knowing what the future holds for us. Jay is actually very excited about the new job—about learning something new. He'll be working with great people. He will go from an hour-long (or more) commute to working minutes away from where we live. And—something to appease my heart—there's a very real possibility that we could still make the move I long for sometime in the next couple years. Once he has established himself in this new industry and has all the certifications necessary for what seems to be a job that is in high demand, there's no reason we wouldn't be able to relocate at some point.

So, I hold onto that hope.

As for now…we are enjoying the last weeks of uninterrupted time together. I'm definitely looking forward to when we can get back into our usual groove, but I know when it does happen I'll miss having Jay here to help out so much. To let me sleep in when I desperately need it, to make dinner, to wrangle one child or another while I'm trying to make a phone call or wash dishes or actually take a shower in peace, to step in and help handle discipline when I'm completely out of steam. This experience has been a challenge to our marriage, but it's been one I think I personally needed. In more ways that I can put into words here.

We'll see what the next several weeks hold! At this point, I know I need to start seriously thinking about what life will look like after Jay returns to work and regular life begins once again. It's time for me to really reevaluate my goals, my daily routines and all of those things. So much to think about in what will surely feel like so little time.

March 31, 2016

things that made me swoon in March...

1. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica — This story definitely follows in the footsteps of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, and if you have yet to pick up this thriller, you must. You won't be disappointed! I listened to the story on audiobook, which was very well done. A good one to look for if you use Audible or Overdrive!

2. Lavender essential oil — I've wanted to try essential oils for years, and finally decided to purchase a starter kit from Young Living. (I'll post more about what I'm learning as I go along—and if you have any questions you'd like me to answer, definitely let me know!) I've heard from a few other women how if all else fails, just use lavender. And, oh, how I adore it! It has helped Eisley go from waking every 1-2 hours to consistently sleeping in 3-5 hour stretches. That may still sound dreadful to some, but after months of waking every 2 hours to soothe Cora, having her sleep 4 hours straight feels like a borderline miracle. The only thing I changed in our nighttime routine was diffusing lavender in our room (where she still sleeps). So lavender is now my BFF.

3. The Wolfpack — Jay and I watched this documentary on Netflix recently and it's totally bizarre and unexpected in the best way. This film introduces you to a group of brothers whose parents (due to some pretty extreme beliefs) refused to let them socialize with others, essentially keeping them locked up in their New York apartment most of their lives. Despite being incredibly sheltered and closed off from the rest of the world, the brothers were allowed to watch movies and became obsessed with popular films. They have done everything from copying entire scripts scene-by-scene, to reenacting and filming entire movies themselves—even creating pretty incredible props and costumes. It is kind of surprising to me how self-aware, unafraid and intelligent most of the brothers are, despite their circumstances. I definitely recommend watching it!

4. The Healthy Moms Podcast — I recently came across this podcast, hosted by Katie of the blog Wellness Mama. If you're at all interested in natural, healthy living then you will love it. I can in no way define myself as "crunchy" but over the past handful of years, I've made positive changes here and there—and continue to do so. This podcast is filled with well-researched information that is presented in actionable, encouraging ways. I especially enjoyed her recent episodes on overmedication in America and hormonal birth control. And although I definitely still love me some Kraft mac and cheese, I learned so much from the episode titled The Reality of Real Food.

5. Periscope — I may be late to the game, but I recently downloaded this app and have loved watching scopes here and there. I don't follow a ton of active users, but have enjoyed @moneysavingmom (Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom) and @allyceriemer (my sweet friend, Allyce, who shares tips on motherhood, healthy living and using essential oils). Is there anyone you recommend I follow? Is there anything you'd like me to talk about if I decided to awkwardly get on there myself?

6. Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems — Eisley and I have recently become completely and utterly obsessed with all things Mo Willems. His most popular books would probably be the Pigeon series, but we also discovered the Knuffle Bunny trio (which make me laugh and cry more than they probably should). However, the best of the best for any early-reader would definitely be the Elephant and Piggie books. Every story we've read so far has been the perfect balance of sweet and silly, and I love that they all showcase the friendship between the two characters. The illustrations are hilarious, the stories are creative, and I so enjoy reading them aloud. (I also love overhearing Eisley read them herself, in all her dramatic glory!)

I'd love to hear what had you swooning this month. Do share!

— Further reading: What made me swoon last year and two years ago

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.